Paris See The Sights – Half Marathon Running Tour

By Brenton Wells

June 23, 2021

fitcation, fitness, travel

Mornings are just the best!

If you know me, you know that I'm absolutely a morning person. There's just something about being up before the sun makes its way slowly crawling over the horizon. But that moment... that pure moment magic when the sun does break is truely spectacular. If you love to walk, run, move, sit and breath, I personally think morning is the best time, especially in the beautiful city of Paris! 

Now I know that it's called the city of lights for a reason. Paris is truely spectacular of an evening also, but nothing beats seeing Paris and all its highlights before the rest of the world gets their day underway. The peace and tranquility of such a huge city pre dawn is something everyone should experience. Especially in European cities where typically their days kick off later than how we tend to live in Australia. 

So please read on and come on my wonderful experience of enjoying Paris by run! And don't worry if you're not up for a 21km run to see a city there are plenty of tours from walking through to running that you can enjoy.

Kicking it off

I enjoyed an Uber to my start point as the trains at this time of day didn't align with my meeting point time (which was no biggie) as there was limited traffic the fare was very reasonable and quick. My tour started in the 15th district of Paris, not too far from the Seine River (Paris's main river). 

I seemed lucky as I was the only person booked in for the tour on this particular day so I was able to experience seeing some of my guides unique favourite places that usually wouldn't be on the tour. (I think my guide just wanted to actually test how fit I was as we ended up running 26km). 

This was my first running tour over 10km so it was interesting to see how much quicker the pace was compared to smaller tour runs.

Seine River, Paris

French Statue of Liberty - Stop 1

You have absolutely read correctly. The French also have their very own Statue of Liberty which was gifted to Paris by US citizens living in Paris three years after the French Revolution. It sits profoundly on a man made island in the middle of the Seine River at a height of 11.5m and 14 tonnes. A very easily missed sight in a city full of wonder around every corner! The statue is located near the Grenelle Bridge with stairs that lead down to the base of the statue so you can take a closer look.

French Statue of Liberty 

We spent about 3mins here admiring the river and learning a bit more about why this location was chosen. Originally the statue faced east towards the Eiffel Tower. In the 1930s it was turned west in the position that it still sits today which faces the direction to the original Statue of Liberty in the USA. 

Our run continued at this stage along the river banks and then detoured up some hills towards our first viewing point of the Eiffel Tower.

Eiffel Tower - First of two viewing spots - Stop 2

When people hear the word Paris instantly the Eiffel Tower comes to mind. This stop was extremely special. I had actually been to this spot the previous afternoon. The difference in people activity couldn't have been more different!

 From this viewing platform there was NO ONE, however the day before I couldn't even get to the rail to take a human free photo. This is why I love seeing sights in European cities early in the morning. To have unobstructed views of sights like this make getting up early all worth while.

Viewing platform of the Eiffel Tower at the Pont d'Iéna.

If you want to catch a train/subway to the closest station to this viewing point you need to head to Trocadéro subway station in-between the 8th and 16th district. You are then only about a 3min walk to this location. Just remember in usual day hours there can literally be hundreds/thousands of people here and be careful of pickpockets. 

Arc De Triomphe - Stop 3

Stop 3 now took us winding our way from the Eiffel Tower lookout through to the Arc De Triomphe. By this stage we were approximately 9km into the tour. One of the most craziest round abouts in the world, I couldn't believe that I could take this photo with zero traffic that is usually chaotically navigating their way around this monument. 

Complete and utter silence, no horns beeping, car breaks screeching and mopeds tooting, it honestly was pretty crazy to see just the monument itself. The monument honours those who fought in the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars.

Dawn & no traffic at the Arc De Triomphe

If you love high end shopping there is no better place than the Champs-Elysees. If you love labels they're all here! I'm not really one for clothes shopping at the best of times, but being able to run down this extremely beautiful strip didn't disappoint. It's certainly a central hub of Paris for all things glam. With train stations directly along this section it is really easy to find your way here using public transport. 

By this point of the tour the city was starting to wake up and there were a few Parisians out and about exercising and enjoying the nice morning and the roads were certainly starting to pick up traffic wise. 

Place de la Concorde - Stop 5

The Place de la Concorde is the largest square in Paris. It measures over 7 hectares in area. In the past this square was used for very public executions in the French revolution including those of King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette.

Today however the area is unbelievably beautiful with fountains, seating areas, large gardens where Parisians enjoy spending lunch breaks or walks in the cooling breeze. From the centre it has a spectacular view that runs up the Champs-Elysees and in the opposite direction down towards the Louvre Museum. 

This is all walking distance from the main shopping strip or you can also catch public transport close by. 

Luxor Obelisk - A gift from Egypt and Fontaine des Mers

Louvre Museum - Stop 6

The famous entrance to the Louvre Museum

We are now at the home of that very well known but extremely small painting by Leonardo da Vinci, The Mona Lisa. The Louvre Museum houses some of the most important art, statues and more of French and world history. 

It's astronomically huge. If you're thinking of coming here to go inside make sure you book a skip the queue tour! Otherwise you may be up for a long, very long wait. There are separate wings dedicated to different parts of French history. If you're a history buff this is a no brainer must do location!

Again I was blown away with having this photo with zero tourists or any other people in it. This space is usually full of people. If you haven't made use of my advice yet, here it is again... if you want photos that are like this with no others... get out of bed early! It really is the best time of day to see the city sights. There are 2 close metro stops which are within 2mins walking to the entry.

Notre Dame - Stop 7

From the Louvre we enjoyed a beautiful run along the Seine river. If you have some spare time in Paris you really should enjoy the pathways that run down along the river itself. Wonderfully beautiful and out of the way of the hustle and bustle of the streets above. You'll even come across riverside restaurants and bars where you can stop off for a well deserved drink or to people watch your day away. 

After a couple of kilometres we made it to Notre Dame in the 4th district of Paris. What a unique and special building of French Gothic architecture. The original building took just under 100years to build. 

Approximately 12million per a year visit Notre Dame, which makes it the most visited monument in Paris. Again no tourists or interrupted photos. By this stage I was certainly starting to feel the effects of the run! 

Eiffel Tower 2nd View Point - Stop 8

This was the get up close and personal viewing point to the tower. At a towering 324m high it is the tallest structure in Paris. One thing about Paris that never disappoints is actually how big the Eiffel Tower is. I've been to other sights around the world that claim the word 'tall' or 'big' but you have to give it to Paris that when they use these describing words they mean it. 

This was the last official stop on my running tour before heading back to our original meeting point. 

This tour really was awesome and whilst I haven't been able to put every single stop into this review it's something that you must experience for yourself. If you're not a runner it's ok. As mentioned all the way through you can get to all of these sights by the use of the subway or train system. In the subway I encourage you to sit at the very front of these driverless trains. The subway operates most of the day every 2mins apart so you really don't have to wait long for your next connection. 

Whilst my tour guide is no longer operating this specific tour in Paris, there's plenty of options should you choose to want to enjoy one of these unique ways of seeing Paris. I encourage you to give it a go, not only do you get some exercise on your holiday but it also gives you a great insight into the different areas and locations of cities you've never been before and help you figure out where you would love to continue to explore. Because your guides are local you'll be able to pick up great tips for things to see and do based on their local knowledge and recommendations. 

If you're interested in checking out some running tours here are a couple of links you can check out:

Airbnb Running Experiences - HERE

Go Running Tours Paris - HERE

If you have any tips or questions please leave them below and I'll do my best to assist where I can! Best of luck to you on your next running tour and I hope I've inspired you to get out there and give it a go, regardless of what tour/distance you decide.  Life is for living so get out there and enjoy it!


Brenton Wells

About the author

There was a time I wasn't happy, I lacked self confidence and had some serious "trying to live up to everyone" else's standards of my body. I got real, changed my focus and the rest fell into place. You can have that too! Let me show you how.. because it's your time to feel great and not let your body define who you are!

- Brenton

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